Office of the Dean

Dean Melba Spooner 

Welcome to the Reich College of Education! This is our digital doorstep, and we are delighted to share with you the programs and opportunities we have to offer.

Beginning as a teacher’s college in its inception, Appalachian State University created a culture set on building community engagement and high-quality professional education and human service programs. The Reich College of Education also houses many centers that engage in and promote this mission. The Anderson Reading Clinic, Appalachian State University Academy at Middle Fork, Appalachian State University Academy at Elkin, Lucy Brock Child Development Laboratory Program, Parent-to-Parent Family Support Network, the James Center for Student Success and Advising, among other programs, place community building at the forefront of their programs’ vision. Additionally, the Public School Partnership is a collaborative that enhances the work of educators and encourages and supports educators through a myriad of projects and initiatives. The continued growth of our programs would not be possible without the support of our local, regional, and statewide community.

The Reich College of Education, which is consistently regarded as one of the best and largest undergraduate teacher education programs in the state, houses the following departments: Child Development, Literacy, and Special Education; Counseling, Family Therapy, and Higher Education; Leadership and Educational Studies;  Learning, Teaching, and Curriculum; Media, Career Studies, and Leadership Development; and the Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership. As Dean, I am encouraged by the eager students who arrive on our campus and leave as leaders in their respective fields. Our students, faculty, staff, and alumni are actively involved in local, state, national, and international initiatives and continue to go beyond the bounds of possibilities.

There is a place for you in the Reich College of Education --- whether you are a prospective student, current student, or proud alum. Come visit us in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina to learn more about your future with the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University!

Dr. Melba Spooner
Dean, Reich College of Education

About Dean Spooner

Dr. Melba Spooner joined Appalachian State University’s Reich College of Education as dean in July 2016. 

Spooner began her higher education career at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, where she was a faculty member and served in various roles in the College of Education including assistant dean; chair of the Department of Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education; and senior associate dean. She started her career in education as a classroom teacher and assistant principal in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School District. 

A nationwide leader in professional education accreditation efforts, Spooner has served in leadership capacities at the national and state levels on issues related to accreditation and policy. She is active and engaged across the state in matters of policy and education initiatives. She provided service on the North Carolina Teaching Fellows Commission and is currently serving a second term on the North Carolina Principal Fellows Commission. In 2019, she also served on the State Board of Education (SBE) Pre-K-12 Literacy Instruction and Teacher Preparation Task Force.

During her higher education leadership roles, Spooner has been a statewide leader in developing and supporting efforts of university-school partnerships, which includes directing the professional development school network between the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and area PK-12 schools and establishing Appalachian State University as one of the anchor institutions with the North Carolina New Teacher Support Program. Additionally, she led the college in the establishment of the Appalachian State University Academy at Middle Fork and Appalachian State University Academy at Elkin, two of nine UNC lab schools in North Carolina. 

Spooner has directed key initiatives that strengthened the quality of education preparation and enhanced both colleges’ reputations. Examples include the development of a new Office of Assessment and Accreditation and the expansion of the James Center for Student Success and Advising at App State to have a central focus for education students to have a hub for academic advising, professional development, and educational leadership opportunities.

Most recently, Spooner has supported the expansion of App State’s Doctoral Program in Educational Leadership to reach online students across the state and nation, and she has worked to add the Alliance for Research on Regional Colleges - a research collaborative with the focus on increasing research on, and appreciation for, regional colleges and their contributions to the students and communities they serve - as a center in the college.

Spooner earned her Ed.D. in curriculum and teaching from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in early childhood education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She also holds a Management Development Program Certificate from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

Areas of professional interest and research include university-school partnerships, specifically related to Professional Development Schools and networks that support teacher development and enhance program quality. She received the 2016 Distinguished Faculty Award from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Alumni Association.